What is a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona Divorce?
When you file for divorce, legal separation, or an annulment, the court will issue a Preliminary Injunction that applies to the person filing the documents when they are filed and applies to the other spouse when he or she is either served with that Preliminary Injunction or becomes aware of it; whichever occurs first.
The Preliminary Injunction has the same effect as a court order signed by a judge. The purpose of the preliminary injunction is to prevent four things from happening during a divorce, legal separation, or an annulment of marriage case. Specifically, the injunction is a court order preventing either party from doing the following:
- Orders the spouses not to transfer, encumber, conceal, sell or otherwise dispose of joint, common or community property;
- Orders the parties not to molest, harass, disturb the peace of or commit an assault or battery on the other spouse or a natural or adopted child of the spouses;
- Orders the spouses not to remove the children from Arizona without the written permission of the other parent or permission from the court;
- Orders the spouses not to cause the other party or their child to be removed from health insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, or automobile insurance policies.
- Orders that the spouses maintain all insurance policies in full force and effect;
Exceptions to the Preliminary Injunction in Arizona
The only exceptions to the orders in the Preliminary Injunction relates to the order preventing either spouse from selling joint, common, and community property. The injunction does allow a spouse to sell joint, common, or community assets if it is done so for one of the following reasons:
- Property sold in the normal course of business;
- Property sold to provide for the necessities of life;
- Property is sold to pay court fees or reasonable attorney fees;
- Property is sold by the written consent of both spouses;
- Property is sold with permission from the court;
Warnings in the Preliminary Injunction
There are serious implications for violating the Preliminary Injunction. Some of those civil and criminal implications are list in the warning that is contained in the Preliminary Injunction. The Preliminary Injunction includes the following warning to both spouses:
This is an official court order. If you disobey this order the court may find you in contempt of court. You may also be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of interfering with judicial proceedings and any other crime you may have committed in disobeying this order.
You or your spouse may file a certified copy of this order with your local law enforcement agency. A certified copy may be obtained from the clerk of the court that issued this order. If you are the person that brought this action, you must also file evidence with the law enforcement agency that this order was served on your spouse.
This court order is effective until a final decree of dissolution, legal separation or annulment is filed or the action is dismissed.
Consequences for Violating a Preliminary Injunction in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-315(G) provides that a violation of the Preliminary Injunction subjects the spouse to arrest and prosecution for the misdemeanor crime of interference with judicial proceedings. The Preliminary Injunction statute also permits either party to register a certified copy of the injunction with their local police department.
The statute also permits law enforcement officers to arrest a spouse for violating the injunction without the need to first obtain an arrest warrant and regardless whether the violation of the injunction was or was not witnessed by the law enforcement officer.
The injunction may also be enforced by one spouse against the other spouse through civil contempt proceedings in the divorce, legal separation, or annulment case.
Practical Tips About Arizona Preliminary Injunctions
The Preliminary Injunction continues in effect until a final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, a Decree of legal separation, or a Decree of Annulment is issued.
The Preliminary Injunction prohibits you from taking out a new loan using your community property as collateral for that loan. You also may not sell or give community property to others, unless both spouses agree to do so.
Even in those circumstances when the parties agree to sell some or all of their community property during a divorce, it is best practice to have a written agreement indicating the terms of the sale that is signed by both spouses.
The order does recognize that it may be normal practice to transfer property, such as business selling its products, which the Preliminary Injunction does not prevent so long as these sales are done in the normal course of the operation of the business.
The order also does prevent you from selling community property if it is necessary for you to support yourself during the divorce.
The order also indicates you cannot harass your spouse or children, nor can you physically abuse or make threats to your spouse and/or children.
There are also orders in the Preliminary Injunction that preclude you from taking your children out of Arizona without a written agreement between both spouses. This order even applies to a planned vacation.
It is very important for you to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to the Preliminary Injunction issued in your family law case.
If you need to know more about a preliminary injunction in a divorce in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your divorce or family law case around today.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona divorce to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.